Insurance company, Providence, R.I.
Size: 12.5 linear feet
Catalog number: MSS 22
Processed by: Rufus Lund, March 1994
©Rhode Island Historical Society
The Providence Insurance Company was chartered in 1799. Among the town's shipping merchants on the first board of directors were Thomas Poynton Ives, John Innes Clarke, and Moses Lippitt. The president was John Mason, a private insurer since 1794.
The Washington Insurance Company was founded in 1800, Richard Jackson, Jr. president, and George Benson secretary and director. For fifteen years the two companies competed for maritime insurance business. After the War of 1812 the two companies merged. Jackson became company president, Ives and Sullivan Dorr prominent directors.
In the 1840s the business began to shift from maritime to fire insurance. The company expanded its market to Philadelphia, upstate New York, and in the 1850s and 1860s into the Midwest.
Losses from the 1871 Chicago Fire caused complete liquidation of the assets of the company. The business was revived with new capital a year later. In 1874 Providence Washington merged with the Newport Fire & Marine Insurance Co. Newport Fire & Marine brought the old American Insurance Company and the Whatcheer Corporation into the merger, as well as the new managers John Halsey DeWolf and John B. Branch.
In the 1880s and 1890s the company expanded its business to the South and West of the United States, and at once again began to increase marine insurance business. A Finance Committee was formed in 1886 to manage investments of assets.
In the early twentieth century Providence Washington began to issue automobile and casualty insurance. A subsidiary Anchor Insurance Company was chartered in 1928. The Merchants Insurance Company of Bangor, Maine was acquired in 1931. The business continues today under the logo of the PW Group.
Roelker, William Greene; and Clarkson A. Collins, III. One Hundred Fifty Years of the Providence Washington Insurance Company, 1799-1949 (1949).
Charter of the Providence Washington Insurance Company, (1887 and 1903)
The Historical Setting of the Providence Washington Insurance Company, (n.d.)
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Scope and content:
The records of the Providence Washington Insurance Company consist of the record books or directors minutes of the merged companies; a letter book dated 1815-1830; early 19th century stockholders minutes, policies, and account books; annual reports to state insurance commissioners, 1874-1939; finance committee records, 1886-1942; Pension Board meeting notes, 1925-32; documents gathered as "Historical Portfolios", 1799-1936; and the San Francisco earthquake policy register book and newspaper clippings, 1906.
Of particular interest in the historical portfolios are original letters from Providence merchant John Brown (1736-1802) dated March 13, August 18 and September 4 1802 (box 10, folder 4) and a cargo damage statement (box 10, folder 17), all relating to insurance on the ship General Washington.
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The 1815-1830 letter book and an 1827 stock subscription list were a gift from the Paul Nicholson in 1947. The rest of the records were a 1992 gift of the Providence Washington Insurance Co.
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This collection was processed by Rufus Lund in 1994. Additional processing was done to box 10 by Rick Stattler in 1999.
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Box 1, folder 1. Providence Insurance Co. directors' minutes, 1799-1838
Box 1, folder 2. Stockholders' minutes, 1799-1820
Box 1, folder 3. Policies, 1799-1801
Box 1, folder 4. Washington Insurance Co. minutes, 1800-38
Box 1, folder 5. Ledger, 1800-07
Box 1, folder 6. Journal, 1800-03
Box 1, folder 7. Providence Washington Insurance Co. letter book, 1815-30
Box 1, folder 8. Subscription list for new stock, 1827
Box 1, folder 9. Dividends to shareholders, 1832-36
Box 1, folder 10. Directors minutes, 1835-75
Box 2, folder 1. Providence Washington Insurance Co. directors' minutes, 1875-1925
Box 2, folder 2. Directors minutes, 1926-38
Box 2, folder 3. Directors minutes, 1939-46
Box 2, folder 4. List of directors, 1907-29
Box 2, folder 5. Checkbook for directors fees, 1931-48
Box 2, folder 6. Stock transfers, 1880-93
Box 2, folder 7. Statement (list of investments), 1887-1919
Box 3, folder 1. Providence Washington Insurance Co. stock certificates, 1867-75
Box 3, folder 2. Policy register, ca. 1890-1910
Box 3, folder 3. Instructions to agents, ca. 1880-1910
Box 3, folder 4. Finance Committee records, 1886-1933
Box 3, folders 5-23. Finance Committee directors meeting, 1918-42
Box 3, folders 24-29. Finance Committee stockholders meeting, 1925-39
Box 3, folders 30. Finance Committee dividend advertising, 1938
Box 3, folders 31-36. Finance Committee figuring papers, 1933-42
Box 3, folder 37. Pension Board meeting, 1925-32
Box 4. Annual reports to R.I. Insurance Commissioner, 1874-1921 (incl. Newport Fire & Marine Insurance Co.)
Box 5. Annual reports, 1922-29
Box 6. Annual reports, 1934-36
Box 7. Annual reports, 1937-39
Box 8, folder 1. Whatcheer Corporation charter, 1850
Box 8, folder 2. Whatcheer Corporation minute book, 1850-1917
Box 8, folders 3-16. Whatcheer Corporation property records (building proposals, specifications, leases, insurance), 1849-1914
Box 8, folder 17. Whatcheer Corporation deed to Rhode Island School of Design, 1914
Box 9, folder 1. American Insurance Co. Charter and Directors Minutes, 1831-50
Box 9, folders 2-3. American Insurance Co. Directors Minutes, 1850-72
Box 9, folders 4-5. Newport Fire & Marine Insurance Co. charter and directors minutes, 1871-75
Box 9, folder 6. Merchants Insurance Co. Directors Minutes, 1885-1931
Box 9, folders 7-9. Anchor Insurance Co. Finance & Directors Minutes, 1928-48
"Historical Portfolio A":
Box 10, folder 1. Accounts, misc., 1800-1815
Box 10, folder 2. Annual reports of various firms, 1864-1865
Box 10, folder 3. Correspondence, 1800-1801
Box 10, folder 4. Correspondence, 1802
Box 10, folder 5. Correspondence, 1804-1806
Box 10, folder 6. Correspondence, 1808-1811, 1840
Box 10, folder 7. Correspondence, 1887-1931
Box 10, folder 8. Historical notes, undated
Box 10, folder 9. Policies, misc., 1804-1908
Box 10, folder 10. Richard Jackson personal accounts, 1803-1805.
"Historical Portfolio B":
Box 10, folder 11. Accounts, misc., 1800-1846
Box 10, folder 12. Correspondence, 1808, from Tabor & Tripp, New London agents
Box 10, folder 13. Policies, misc., 1807-1901
Box 10, folder 14. Miscellaneous, 1799-1871
Box 10, folder 15. Anchor Insurance Company - First checks, 1928
Box 10, folder 16. New London documents - Arbitration agreement and ship's protest, 1806
Box 10, folder 17. Ship General Washington - Statement of partial loss to cargo, undated
Box 11, folder 1. Providence Washington, Pacific Department policy register, 1905-06
Box 11, folder 2. San Francisco earthquake newspaper clippings, 1906
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American Insurance Company (Providence, R.I.)
Anchor Insurance Company
Benson, George (1752-1836)
Brown, John (1736-1803)
Connecticut - New London - Commerce
Dorr, Sullivan (1778-1858)
Earthquakes - California - San Francisco
General Washington (ship)
Insurance companies - Rhode Island
Ives, Thomas Poynton (1769-1835)
Jackson, Richard, Jr. (1764-1838)
Merchants Insurance Company (Bangor, Me.)
Newport Fire & Marine Insurance Company
Providence Insurance Company
Taber & Tripp (New London, Conn.)
Washington Insurance Company
What Cheer Block
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